I've been thinking a lot about this schedule of mine, which is both fabulous and yet... much more exhausting on certain days than my schedule has been historically.
See, when I started at this job, I fell into a 5 day/week schedule. Now, a lot of people (my colleagues at this job, most notably) when they would hear about this would often look at me askance and ask me why I allowed myself to be scheduled in this way, and they would say, "you know, you don't have to have that sort of a schedule if you don't want..." And I would sort of blow off the comment.
On the one hand, I really didn't know better, and so I made that schedule work once, and then once I made it work, I didn't want to risk changing it. Dr. Crazy, crazy though she may be, really does become fond of her routines. Now, what was positive about my 5 day/week schedule?
1. I was always done with teaching by noon. This meant that on nearly all days I'd be able to get off campus by 2 PM, if not before.
2. There was an order to my workdays that was consistent. I didn't tend to feel massively exhausted most of the time, but rather I was just running at around 40 mph consistently. There was little acceleration and deceleration unless I had a major deadline or a major batch of papers come in that needed to be graded.
3. Because I was on campus 5 days a week, and because I taught at pretty consistent times, it was really easy to schedule meetings with students around my schedule, even if it had to be outside of office hours.
Well, this semester I was able to manage getting a 3 day/week schedule. And I've managed to parlay that into a 3/day week schedule for the next two years. Now, I think this was ultimately an opportunity at which to jump, but it's been quite a transition getting used to this new schedule. Why?
1. On the days when I teach, I'm generally on campus 8-10 hours a day. This is grueling.
2. While there is a pattern to my week, there is not really consistency. It's like I'm going 25 mph on the days when I'm not teaching and 75 mph on the days when I teach. Now, there are benefits to this. I find I'm keeping up with grading in a more reliable way, and I'm more on track with my courses in terms of prep (although this has to do with other factors as well). But it also means that by the time Thursday hits, I'm wiped. A drawback that I'd not anticipated is that I'm actually less on track with research tasks. By the time I've recuperated from teaching somewhere around Sunday, and then gotten into the groove with research stuff, it's time to put it aside again for teaching. But I do have big blocks of time so I am having new ideas during the semester, which is a bonus that I've never had before. So I think research-wise this schedule's kind of a wash.
3. It's much more of a pain in the ass finding convenient times to meet with students. That said, I'm much better about protecting the time that is "mine" than I was when I knew I'd already be on campus every day of the week.
I suppose the point here is that I'm not sure if I'm more busy than I used to be, but I certainly am differently busy and I'm not quite in the rhythm of my busyness in the way that I used to be with the 5 day/week schedule.
And so it's Thursday, and I'm wiped, and I've got a long day ahead of me. A long, long day.
1 year ago